McGill's Peroff leads team to third national hockey title
(PHOTO COURTESY OF WLU ATHLETICS)
BY HEIDI RIEDNER
McGill hockey player and Keswick resident Jordanna
Peroff isn't heading off to Ottawa as a rookie NDP MP like
her fellow McGill 5 schoolmates, but she did bring back a little
gold hardware in her luggage after returning home this month from
The 21-year-old, who will turn 22 in July, was named tournament MVP at the CIS championship in Waterloo, ON, after she helped the top-seeded McGill Martlets capture their third national title in four years.
The talented, 5-foot-6 forward, who led all scorers at the championship with five points, was named player of the game in each of the last two games and scored once and assisted on the winning goal in a 5-2 decision over the St. Francis Xavier X-Women in the gold-medal final.
"It was really exciting being named MVP," says the fourth-year world religions major, who is back at home for the summer and who will graduate this June.
The former Aurora Atom Panther and Markham-Stouffville Junior, whose play is characterized by bursts of lightning speed and expert stick-handling, marked her fourth consecutive appearance in the CIS title match with the formidable McGill squad, which racked up an impressive 171-4-1 record against Canadian university opponents during its record five consecutive appearances in the national final.
Losing last year in the gold-medal game to Alberta provided ample motivation for redemption, but Ms Peroff says everyone was "extremely prepared and pumped" for the championship.
"We knew we could do it as long as we stayed focused and consistent and we drilled that concept into the rookies' heads," she adds. "I think we scared them a little bit."
But that ferocity of spirit and determination is what has driven Ms Peroff ever since lacing up her first pair of figure skates at the age of three.
Ms Peroff, however, opted for a pair of hockey blades when she was four, playing both house league and rep hockey in Keswick with the boys until she was 11.
"I'm pretty sure I was one of only three girls playing hockey in the entire league at the time," she says.
Her success on the ice and her passion for the sport prompted her to choose McGill for her university career four years ago, even though it didn't offer any substantial fine arts programs.
While her career aspirations were geared toward marketing and graphic design, the Keswick High School graduate "just wanted to play for McGill" because of the strong reputation of both its women's hockey team and its renowned head coach Peter Smith.
Indeed, this year's title capped a stellar season for the Martlets, who racked up an unblemished 33-0 record against CIS opponents.
Ms Peroff plans to return to McGill for a fifth year, enrolled in a graduate certificate program to supplement her degree in English cultural studies and world religion, with a minor in art history. But the main impetus for going back is to play what may be her last year of hockey.
"The dream, of course, is always to play for Team Canada, but if this ends up being my last year of hockey, I want to go out with a bang," she says.
Currently suffering from a little post-season withdrawal, Ms Peroff is enjoying the Stanley Cup playoffs with her parents, Colleen and Steve Peroff. Being born and raised in Keswick, but attending school in Montreal, the playoffs usually mean a split allegiance between the Leafs and the more popular Habs of her alma mater.
She's also considering a summer trip to Europe with her brother and eventually working in Toronto with a marketing firm.
But whatever the future holds for this ice princess, she feels well prepared for the challenge through the support of her family and the experience of growing up in a close-knit community like Keswick.
"I always said I wanted to raise my kids here," she says. "Growing up in Keswick was great. You always felt the closeness and sense of community of a small-town and could always be together with your friends."
Ms Peroff cherishes those memories and says those experiences gave her the confidence and the desire to expand her horizons, meet new people and tackle new challenges.
Whether it's on the ice or in life, this is one team player who stands out top-shelf all the way.